Psychological Profile of Obese Adolescents (Participating in CLASP Lifestyle Change Program) (#99)
Aim: A retrospective analysis was conducted to determine whether obese adolescents present with a higher rate of mental health issues than age matched peers.
Method: 32 adolescents aged 12-16 years with a BMI z-score above +2.2 completed psychometric assessment prior to commencement of a 12 month tertiary based lifestyle change weight management program. All participants completed the Beck Youth Inventory, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and Overeating Questionnaire. Results were compared to data available from standardization samples and published prevalence rates of mental health difficulties for adolescents.
Results: 12.5% of participants were identified as having clinically high scores for depression. ABS (2007) data suggest prevalence rates of depression of 8.4% for females and 4.3% for males aged 16-24. Consistent with previously published prevalence rates, 37.5% of this sample indicated poor body image, 19% were found to have low self concept and 16% indicated they engaged in overeating, emotional eating and were socially isolated.
Conclusion: Results suggest higher rates of depression amongst obese adolescents as opposed to age matched peers. Results confirm previous findings that poor body image, overeating, emotional eating and social isolation are significant mental health issues for some obese adolescents. Further research is required to investigate the impact of lifestyle change intervention on these factors and the relationship between psychological functioning and weight loss.